By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Panasonic is preparing to ship three new additions to its DIGA family of DVD recording products, including some of its first decks to include recording and playback support for the DVD+R and DVD-RW recordable disc formats.
The models will include a new standalone deck, a VCR/DVD recorder combination deck and a digital video recorder (DVR)/DVD recorder combo deck. All three will add the company's new fast-start capability which enables recording to commence in is short as a second after pressing the record button, providing a recordable disc has been previously loaded and recognized by the deck.
In addition, Panasonic is adding Gemstar's TV Guide On Screen electronic program guide (EPG) to the DVR/DVD recorder combo deck to provide greater convenience in finding and programming broadcast, cable or satellite television programs to record.
Another enhancement to the decks includes improved horizontal resolution in LP mode, which renders images twice as sharp as last year's models, delivering up to 500 lines of horizontal resolution, according to the company. To achieve the result, Panasonic added a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter with high-rate sampling.
All three models are compatible with the DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD+R recordable disc formats. They will also playback recordings on DVD+RW media, and will play back content on DVD-Audio, DVD-Video, Video CD, Audio CD and CD-R/RW discs. They will also support MP3 music and JPEG image files.
The stand-alone DVD-recorder model DMR-ES10 will ship in April at a $249.95 suggested retail price.
Model DMR-ES30V (shipping in May at a $349.95 suggested retail) includes all the features of the DMR-ES10 and adds a built-in VHS VCR.
The DMR-EH50 (shipping in May at a $499.95 suggested retail) features a 100GB hard disk drive, providing up to 177 hours of recording time. The TV Guide EPG offers an onscreen program listings guide to find and record television shows without the need to pay an additional subscription fee. Panasonic includes a “Smart Wheel-Remote Control” to quickly find recorded programs and start playback faster (200x quick search and fast-forward smooth search).
The unit also includes a built-in SD slot and SD viewer for JPEG images.
Panasonic also stresses that because all DIGA recorders feature DVD-RAM disc compatibility, they will offer such features as simultaneous recording and playback of a television show, random access, chasing playback, on-disc editing and multi-format data compatibility.
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